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Be Flexible and Adapt, or Break into Worthless Pieces

Apr 4, 2008
In New England, windstorms can be intense, especially when hurricanes come through. During those storms, the maple trees and pines withstand quite well because they bend in the wind. The oaks, however, don't bend and sustain a lot of damage, as a result.

When it comes to exceeding the future best practices in adaptation, you should go a step further than even emulating the maples and pines, and be like the dandelion.

The dandelion isn't harmed at all because it totally flattens out in the wind and quickly rebounds to stretch for the sun when the wind is gone. In fact, if the wind blows while its seeds are ready to be released, the seeds may even find many more hospitable homes than would otherwise have occurred.

What games and simulations do you currently use to prepare people for volatile situations, and which ones work best?

Very few enterprises have no experience at all with learning based on games and simulations. If for some reason yours has had little exposure to these techniques, arrange to experiment with some games and simulations so that you can see, hear, touch, and feel which ones work best for your people.

As part of this activity, ask people what a useful and fun experience would be like for them. Soon you'll have parameters you can use to create custom games and simulations to prepare your company for rapid adaptation.

What kind of preparatory drills would pay-off for your business?

Advance experience in adapting is very useful. Find out in which areas there is a lot at stake and in which your people would be prepared to run controlled experiments.

Companies that acquire others often uncover much more difficult computer conversions than expected that have enormous consequences on business results and costs. During the "due diligence" prior to making the acquisition, simulating how to do the conversions could provide a lot of information about whether and how much to pay for the acquisition. This is especially true when acquiring service organizations.

What stalls do you most need to avoid? These stalls can be determined by analyzing the behaviors exhibited during the games, simulations, and preparatory drills you provide. If you do enough of these, you can also make each person in your enterprise aware of their own stalls and see how these need to be adjusted during adaptations to irresistible forces.

How can you measure your effectiveness in adapting to irresistible forces so that you can locate your best opportunities to improve?

In this area, it's important to measure overall effectiveness and how each organizational unit performs. Many operations will find that most of their lost effectiveness is evident in one or two places.

Some companies have had wonderful market research departments that were very good at locating irresistible force shifts, but few were effective in communicating that information to the rest of the company so that timely action could occur. This challenge can be even greater if you use outside organizations to help you anticipate and locate changes in irresistible forces.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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